The Past Revisited: An Accounting Bibliography

By Sharp, Andrew D.; Galen, AbM | The CPA Journal, July 2012 | Go to article overview

The Past Revisited: An Accounting Bibliography


Sharp, Andrew D., Galen, AbM, The CPA Journal


The information technology revolution, fueled by the Internet, has produced many advances beneficial to society. The development and emergence of electronic search engines and databases have facilitated the research process at a rapid pace. The digital age provides far-reaching access to electronic data that was not readily available in earlier eras.

Accounting history bibliographies, whether in electronic format or hard copy, represent an imperative resource for researchers. Accounting historians rely on bibliographies as tools to help conduct their research. The 1951 American Accounting Association booklet, Index to The Accounting Review: 1926-1950, is a prime example of an accounting history bibliography in hard copy. Part I of this publication consists of a subject-matter index that spans Volumes 1 to 25 of the Accounting Review, covering the 45 years between 1926 and 1950. The history category of the index contains 47 articles on accounting history.

Exhibit 1 reproduces a bibliography of accounting history articles published in the Accounting Review from 1926 to 1950. The authors of several of the listed articles include notable accounting historians William T. Baxter, S. Paul Garner, Henry Rand Hatfield, Ananias Charles (A. C.) Littleton, Perry E. Mason, Mary E. Murphy, and Basil S. Yamey. Revisiting the bibliography is a way to keep the legacies of these influential CPAs alive.

William T. Baxter

A combination of interests in accounting, business history, and economics spurred William T. Baxter to study the papers and business records of John Hancock's family. In 1945, Harvard University Press published Baxter's doctoral dissertation (which he wrote while attending the University of Edinburgh), "The House of Hancock: Business in Boston, 1724-75." In his role as a respected teacher and scholar at the London School of Economics, he advanced the accounting curriculum with his innovations, and he worked with David Solomons and Sidney Davidson (a visiting professor from the University of Chicago). His other books include Studies in Accounting Theory (edited with Davidson in 1962), Depreciation (1971), and Accounting Values and Inflation (1975). In 1963, Baxter served on the initial editorial board of the Journal of Accounting Research, a joint publication of the London School of Economics and the University of Chicago. In 1973, Basil Yamey coedited a collection of papers, Debits, Credits, Finance and Profits, honoring Baxter upon his retirement from the London School of Economics. This influential accounting historian is a member of the Accounting Hall of Fame.

S. Paul Garner

S. Paul Gamer served as longtime dean of the college of commerce at the University of Alabama, from 1954 until 1971. The year he became dean marked the publication of his oftencited book A History of Cost Accounting to 1925. His dedication to accounting history was reflected in his efforts to establish the Academy of Accounting Historians in 1973. He held the position of president of the American Accounting Association in 1951. Gamer was instrumental in advancing international accounting to the forefront of the profession.

Henry R. Hatfield

Accounting Hall of Famer Henry R. Hatfield has been called a "historian of accounting and bookkeeping" by Basil Yamey and the "dean of accounting teachers" by Stephen Zeff. As a leading authority on early bookkeeping history, Hatfield wrote his often-referenced essay, "An Historical Defense of Bookkeeping," in 1923. In 1898, one year after obtaining his doctoral degree from the University of Chicago, he joined the faculty there. From 1902 to 1904, Hatfield served as the first dean of the University of Chicago's college of commerce and administration. In 1904, he left Chicago for the University of California at Berkeley, securing the first full-time accounting professorial appointment in the United States. Hatfield served as the second dean of UC Berkeley's college of commerce, commencing in 1909. …

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